When to choose qualitative research and when to choose quantitative research?

HomeWhen to choose qualitative research and when to choose quantitative research?

In my previous blog, "Qualitative and Quantitative Research: What's What?" I explained the difference between qualitative and quantitative research. In this blog, I will discuss what kinds of research topics call for a qualitative approach and which ones, on the contrary, require a quantitative approach.

Do you want to demonstrate a change in attitude resulting from an activity, project, or program? Do you want to show significant differences and be able to generalize to the masses? And do you want to be able to make numerical statements about a specific target group? Then a quantitative method of research fits best.

Examples of research questions answered through quantitative research:

  • What is the effect of project X on target group Y?
  • To what extent are visitors/participants satisfied?
  • Does the attitude towards subject X change with target group Y?

Do you need more in-depth information? Do you want to know what's behind it? And are you looking for motives?  Then qualitative research is the best method. You want answers to the Why and How Questions.

Examples of research questions answered through qualitative research:

  • How can we improve our project?
  • Why do people visit our museum?
  • How do people experience visiting us?

Qualitative and quantitative research are not necessarily independent. Sometimes a research question requires a mix of both methods, where you want to know the effect; are visitors satisfied? And why are they satisfied?

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Claudia's heart is in research. With her passion, she enjoys enthusing others about research. She enjoys sharing her knowledge and experience. Claudia works and lives in the Netherlands, where she has been helping students and beginning researchers with research for years. Through blogs, but also with e-books, e-courses, and coaching. The first blogs are now translated into English to help more students and beginning researchers.
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